Volume 9, Number 3, August 2003
Copyright © 2003 Society for Music Theory

New Dissertations


Chong, Eddy K. M. "Extending Schenkerís Neue musikalische Theorien und Phantasien: Towards a Schenkerian Model for the Analysis of Ravelís Music" University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music, May 2002.

AUTHOR: Chong, Eddy K. M.

TITLE: Extending Schenkerís Neue musikalische Theorien und Phantasien: Towards a Schenkerian Model for the Analysis of Ravelís Music

INSTITUTION: University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music


ABSTRACT: Ravelís strong grounding in the traditional techniques of harmony and counterpoint suggests that his music might be amenable to Schenkerian analysis. Indeed, a close look at Schenkerís triptych Neue musikalische Theorien und Phantasien reveals a way to extend his methods without departing from his original conceptual framework. The latter involves: (1) the Law of Consonance and the Postulate of Melodic Fluency as the two fundamental principles (Urgesetze) of harmony and voice leading; (2) various basic harmonic concepts and voice-leading archetypes (Urbegriffe); and (3) the concepts of free composition and essential counterpoint, both of which are ontologically distinct from each other and from strict counterpoint. All these elements operate under his motto: ďSempre idem sed non eodem modo.Ē

A selection of Ravelís solo-piano works shows that many of the surface dissonant sonorities, as well as (in Schenkerian terms) unusual middlegrounds and foregrounds, arise from the extended use of such Urbegriffe as passing tones and displacements. At times, daring use of implied tones and mixture (Mischung) characterizes the voice leading. As for parallels, many of the surface ones are, ontologically, non-essential doublings; otherwise, essential parallels are typically either eliminated through foreground means or mitigated according to Schenkerís inter-level justification. Finally, repetition (Wiederholung and Gliederung) accounts for certain otherwise atypical harmonic progressions. In all the cases examined, the fundamental principles are never violated and no new forms of Ursatz need to be introduced.

The implicit claim here is that Schenkerís all-important motto holds for the Ravel pieces examined. The preservation of the Urgesetze and Urbegriffe upholds the sempre idem component of Schenkerís motto whereas the proposed extensions demonstrate the sed non eodem modo theoretical necessity. Ravelís tonal language is presented as a dialect akin, but not equivalent, to the tonal language(s) of the common-practice period. In other words, the Schenkerian FernhŲren is possible with Ravel's music.

KEYWORDS: Ravel's piano music, Impressionist, Schenker, Urgesetze and Urbegriffe, Sempre idem sed non eodem modo, parallels/consecutives, mixture/Mischungen, displacement, Wiederholungen and Gliederungen, FernhŲren

TOC: Prolog
1. Setting up the Schenkerian Apparatus
2. Parallel Constructions
3. Extended Tertian chords, Altered Chords, and Other Dissonant Harmonies
4. Impressionist Musical Syntax and Forms

Blk 9, Gloucester Road #11-23 Singapore
210 009 (65) 6396 3418

Back to Dissertation Menu

Richards, William H. "Transformation and Generic Interaction in the Early Serial Music of Igor Stravinsky." University of Western Ontario, June 2003.  

AUTHOR: Richards, William H.

TITLE: Transformation and Generic Interaction in the Early Serial Music of Igor Stravinsky

INSTITUTION: University of Western Ontario

BEGUN: July 1998

COMPLETED: June 2003

ABSTRACT: A characteristic of the early serial music of Igor Stravinsky is its incompatibility with the canonical twelve-tone model derived from the compositional practice described by Arnold Schoenberg. The idiosyncratic expressions of serial techniques intermixed with non-serial linear constructions, and the commingling of diatonic and non-diatonic pitch objects have presented a considerable analytic challenge to those whose have encountered this repertoire from the perspective of classical serialism. This, in turn, has engendered a considerable amount of scholarship that acknowledges the limited explicative potential that serial theory holds for this repertoire.

This dissertation investigates the compositionally continuous and discontinuous serial and non-serial formations found at or near the musical surface in works selected from Stravinsky's early serial music, draws these formations into relationships through the analytical apparatus of an original transformational system, and explores their interactions through the model of generic set-class space. Ultimately, a dynamic model of the pitch structure for each of these works emerges that transcends order relationships embedded within the linear formations.

Chapters 1 and 2 of the dissertation identify the salient issues pertaining to the analysis of Stravinsky's early serial music, outline the analytical objectives, and develop the transformational system and the model of generic set-class space. The dissertation examines the group of functions that determines the symmetry transformations of a geometric figure and defines the music-theoretic analogues of canonical and non-canonical serial operations and operations in pitch-class set theory, and briefly explores the set-algebraic operations that underlie the combinational processes fundamental to pitch-class set theory. In doing so, the dissertation identifies a collection of transformations that coalesce into the transformational system, including the non-canonical transformations of distortion (stretching, shrinking, and substitution) and the near-equivalency transformation (the latter developed from the ideas of Joseph Straus and Allen Forte).

Transformational analysis, operating within the context of the model of generic set-class space, elucidates relationships among pitch-class objects, explicates the transformational processes that act on these objects, and provides a means by which to gauge invariance and change among pc objects. Through local and global interactions of the mechanism of the transformational system and the generic model, the multifarious linear and vertical pitch-class objects discovered through analysis coalesce into a network of nodes and transformational pathways that link them together in set-class space. The formulation of the model of generic set-class space--shaped by the theories of Richard Chrisman, Allen Forte, Roberts Morris, and Richard Parks--is in response to the diverse generic models proposed by Arthur Berger, Henri Pousseur, Pieter van den Toorn, and Joseph Straus. The transformational network is based on the works of David Lewin.

The dissertation provides detailed analyses of works selected from Stravinsky's early serial repertoire: Chapter 3, the "serial" interludes from Orpheus (1947); Chapter 4, Ricercar II from the Cantata (1951-52); Chapter 5, "Musick to heare" from Three Songs from William Shakespeare (1953); Chapter 6, In Memoriam Dylan Thomas (1954). Chapter 7 reviews the transformational system and the model of generic set-class space. Although no single principle or device elucidates compositional or analytical unity among the works of this repertoire, the transformational system and the model of generic set-class space effects compositional and analytical unity at a highly abstract level.

KEYWORDS: transformation theory, symmetry, pitch-class set genera, near-equivalency, set-class space, pitch-class set theory, serial theory.

(I) Shifting Perspectives on the Analysis of Stravinsky's Early Serial Music
(II) Theory and Methodology
(III) The "Serial Interludes" in Orpheus
(IV) Ricercar II, from the Cantata
(V) "Musick to Heare," from Three Songs from William Shakespeare
(VI) In Memoriam Dylan Thomas
(VII) Conclusions

Dr. William (Bill) H. Richards
Department of Music
Grant MacEwan College
Centre For The Arts, room 143
10045 - 156 Street
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5P 2P7
(780) 497-4462
Fax: (780) 497-4330

Back to Dissertation Menu

Dolenko, Elena. "Schoenberg. The Early Years." [Molodoy Schoenberg]. Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, May 2003.

AUTHOR: Dolenko, Elena

TITLE: Schoenberg. The Early Years. [Molodoy Schoenberg]

INSTITUTION: Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory

BEGUN: October 2000

COMPLETED: May 29, 2003

ABSTRACT: This Schoenberg study explores the origins of the career of the great man, who was well in advance of his time. Proposing an innovative analytical approach to Schoenberg's creative output by revealing some crucial dramatic parallels between his music and his painting, it re-examines the stylistic features of Schoenberg's oeuvre up to early 1909 with the focus on establishing typical characteristics of Jugendstil in his music. Since there are still some methodological gaps in studies of Jugendstil in music, the dissertation first provides background information on the conceptual data base of Jugendstil recognized in contiguous fields of research (e.g. in art studies), in order then to apply it's basic criteria to music. By dint of the approach employed, the research sheds new light on the most far-reaching works of this period, specifically on "Verklärte Nacht", "Pelleas and Melisande", the First and the Second String Quartets and, last but not least, on "Buch der hängenden Gärten".

The thesis challenges the conventional view of the concept of Klangfarbenmelodie, generally regarded as distributed melody, viz. melody whose constituents are usually consigned to instruments of diverse timbres. Detailed examination of first-hand evidence contained in Schoenberg's theoretical writings and his correspondence contributes in no small way to greater in depth understanding of the concept's message and, -- tells us much about the term's genesis. When building upon the analyses of such music pieces as the tomb scene from "Pelleas and Melisande", the introduction to the fourth movement of the Second String Quartet or the Piano Piece Op. 11/2 -- pieces cited by Schoenberg himself in his letter to Josef Rufer of 19 January 1951, when pointing to examples of Klangfarbenmelodie in his music, -- the concept's intrinsic implication becomes apparent. It was a sort of counterpoint, the dissertation claims, that Schoenberg actually implied by Klangfarbenmelodie.

Adopting the analytical approach of Jusef Cohn who was probably the first to apply mathematical strategies of research to defining the sonal density of musical texture, the study investigates Orchestral Piece Op. 16/3, concentrating on its very original compositional feature: aiming at maintenance of balance, Schoenberg equipoises the timbre monotony in the Piece's first section by considerable swings of sonal density, and vice versa -- the comparative constancy of sonal density in the third section is brilliantly counteracted by the profusion and originality of the timbre combinations developed.

KEYWORDS: Schoenberg, Jugendstil, Jahrhundertwende, Klangfarbenmelodie, Vienna

I. Born in Vienna...
II. Theory of Composition as a Basis of Innovation in Music
III. "I Do Not Know Which of My Compositions Are Better..."
IV. "I Feel a Breeze from Another Planet..."
Instead of a Conclusion
Appendix A: Translations
Appendix B: Iconography
Appendiv C: Musical Examples

Mosfilmovskaya Str. 11-4-10
119330 Moscow
Russian Federation
Tel.:+7-095/143 5956
Fax: +7-095/142 0874

Back to Dissertation Menu


Copyright Statement

[1] Music Theory Online (MTO) as a whole is Copyright © 2003, all rights reserved, by the Society for Music Theory, which is the owner of the journal. Copyrights for individual items published in MTO are held by their authors. Items appearing in MTO may be saved and stored in electronic or paper form, and may be shared among individuals for purposes of scholarly research or discussion, but may not be republished in any form, electronic or print, without prior, written permission from the author(s), and advance notification of the editors of MTO.

[2] Any redistributed form of items published in MTO must include the following information in a form appropriate to the medium in which the items are to appear:

This item appeared in Music Theory Online in [VOLUME #, ISSUE #] on [DAY/MONTH/YEAR]. It was authored by [FULL NAME, EMAIL ADDRESS], with whose written permission it is reprinted here.

[3] Libraries may archive issues of MTO in electronic or paper form for public access so long as each issue is stored in its entirety, and no access fee is charged. Exceptions to these requirements must be approved in writing by the editors of MTO, who will act in accordance with the decisions of the Society for Music Theory.

prepared by
Stanley V. Kleppinger, editorial assistant
Updated 02 September 2003